What To Look For In A Hybrid Event Platform
In the last couple of years, the virtual event platform market has grown exponentially. With that, virtual event marketers have had a tough time navigating this crowded space. As more businesses embrace the virtual way of conducting business, these virtual platforms have become essential to not just host events, but also to maintain employee relations and manage communication and collaboration among various departments within an organization.
We would rate customizability the highest because every business today has joined the virtual events bandwagon and as we all know, no two businesses are the same. So, being able to tailorize the platform to suit your business objectives is a must.
Don’t mistake simplicity for a limited capability. By simplicity we mean the ease with which you can use a certain software or platform. For many events online, things like a live demo, streaming, recording, etc, are required to be managed by a moderator who may or may not be an IT expert. A simple and easy to use platform is preferable on any day.
First things first, the event platform should be easy to deploy and secondly it must operate well within other systems. In other words, compatibility with other software like marketing and customer relationship management is a crucial element to consider while shortlisting the best hybrid event platform.
One of the biggest technical challenges facing today’s businesses is that they are often using lots of different apps and platforms, many of which do not work well together. Interoperability is essential for getting maximum value out of your hybrid event technology, so be sure to look for platforms that integrate with your other solutions, such as marketing automation, customer relationship management, and payment systems.
This one goes without saying. The platform needs to be hosted on a secure server, and be capable of safeguarding your data.
6. Audience Engagement and Networking
Several hybrid event organizers are under immense pressure to engage both in-person and remote attendees in the same manner. In such circumstances, a platform like Virtex that has more than enough tools to engage and create networking opportunities among the audience is necessary.
Another element we would like to add here is the ability to gamify content. It draws from people’s interest in games and their addictive quality. At the same time, it piques audience interest and keeps them engaged for longer periods of time.
7. Good Sponsorship Deals
Good sponsorship revenue can make your event more profitable while helping your sponsors identify leads. A valuable hybrid event platform should have the ability to design customized sponsorship packages that vary according to scope and size. It should also help sponsors track audience engagement and provide real-time analytics to calculate their RoI.
8. Reporting and Analytics
Event technology today makes it much easier to track audience data and derive insights from it. What your hybrid event platform should be able to do is not just track data but help generate useful, actionable reports for you. This vital information can be shared in the form of post-event marketing content or even as hybrid event FAQs.
9. Mobile Friendliness
Compatibility with mobile phones simply cannot be overlooked today. Several participants and attendees get a lot of work done through their mobile devices and in such a case, making your hybrid event mobile-friendly is an absolute must. For this, you need a platform that can be easily accessed through both laptop and mobile devices.
VIRTUAL EVENTS FAQs
Virtual events have become so popular amid the pandemic. Currently, people are more into online events than physical events. So everybody is learning what goes into organizing an online event and how you can profit from them.
We have compiled a list of virtual event-related FAQs to ease your anxiety and study.
This article will answers all the common questions about virtual events you will encounter when researching them and during the beginning stages of designing one for your company.
What is a Virtual Event?
Have you ever heard of virtual events? If so, you might be wondering what they’re all about. Virtual events are similar to real life events, but rather than happening in front of you and your colleagues, they occur on the internet.
What are the types of virtual events?
When most people hear the words “virtual event”, they assume that it means some sort of online conference or “tele-seminar”. In reality there are many other types of online or virtual events available today, such as social gatherings and business networking events.
However, here is the list that have the most common virtual events that are capable of delivering a full marketing funnel and generate more leads.
- Virtual Conference & Summits
- Virtual Education Fair
- Virtual Benefit Fair
- Virtual Networking Fair
- Virtual Graduation Ceremony
- Virtual Trade Shows & Exhibitions
- Virtual Expo
- Virtual Product Launch
What is the purpose of Virtual events?
Virtual Events had been proven to be an effective means of conveying information to an audience simultaneously. You can share the same content to thousands of online users at the same time with just one click.
- Less time-consuming and less expensive
- Streamlining the use of multiple platforms
- Enhanced interactivity
- Optimization of return on investment
Why virtual events?
There are several advantages of hosting a virtual event. It is easier to organize one and more cost-effective. This can result in more revenue for your company and greater brand awareness.
Utilizing the reach of the Web, businesses were able to reach potential clients better than ever before. Social media and online media outlets became where more and more people accessed information on the latest trends in their professional and personal lives.
Apart from these, there are some other benefits of organizing an event online:
1. Collect Real-time data
3. Save time & money
How to make virtual events interactive?
To many, running an engaging and successful virtual event seems like a daunting affair. It’s all about learning how to use the available features and adding your creative touches around them.
- Polls & Trivia
- Speaker Q&A
- Gamification & Leaderboard
- Photo & Video booth
- Social Media Wall
- Virtual Café/Food-Court
However, by knowing what features your virtual event needs, you can make sure that the event is successful and highly engaging for your audience.
How to organize virtual events?
Virtual events are online versions of in-person events, which enable people to attend conferences virtually from computer or any digital device like a phone or a tablet.
But to make sure that the event should be successful and your audience should have a fantastic experience, we are sharing some best practices for conducting a great event:
- Set clear goals and budget
- Choose the best virtual event platform to host your virtual event
- Create a landing page with all relevant information
- Develop a clear agenda
- Promote your virtual events
- Invite investors and exhibitors
There are different tools that every virtual event organizer should be utilizing, but choosing the right tools is often the tricky part when it comes to organizing an online event.
Online events can be used as a way of promoting your business and getting free advertising. Choosing the right virtual platform for hosting the even plays a crucial role in this. The virtual event management platform provides a full range of event management services and functionality from a single solution, so that you can get your events off the ground with minimum effort.
There are many different virtual platforms in the market and one of them is Almond Virtex. It’s a virtual & hybrid event & experience platform that help brands/ organization with employee and channel engagement.
In 2022, The Ultimate Guide to Effective Event Branding
In 2022, marketing channels and platforms have grown multifold and this has added to the paradox of choice as far as event branding is concerned. Should you have a social only strategy or should you invest heavily in offline branding too? The conundrum is sometimes too difficult to get out of.
To make matters more sensitive, the relationship between your branding strategy and customer loyalty is directly proportional. Look at brands like Apple and Nike. Their customer base is massive, and every customer is a brand ambassador.
But is event branding the same as corporate branding?
Essentially, they are two different things but produce the same results for the company. If your event is well-promoted and talks to your audience about your brand, then it can help enhance your brand awareness, customer loyalty, and revenue.
Here are a few steps that you can include in your next event branding campaign.
Figure Out The Purpose Of Your Event
Every activity begins with a ‘why’. Quite often, marketers who get this right end up having successful campaigns. The ‘why’ puts the rest of your steps in place and forms the foundation for your entire strategy.
Are you looking to showcase your product line? Or this is an event for employees to feel one with your business? Why do you want to have this particular event?
Another aspect you might want to look into here is your target audience. Is it customers or employees, or both? That will make your event brand positioning tighter too. More on that in the next section.
Define Your Value Proposition
Every event is different. And it seeks to deliver some value to its attendees. So, once you have earmarked a solid objective, you must articulate your event’s value proposition. Here are a few things to consider.
- Who is your audience?
- What need of your audience is your virtual event going to address?
- What is your event?
- What does your event entail?
- What core benefits does your event provide to your audience?
Make Your Brand Tangible
When you think of a big event like the Oscars, you immediately picture the image of a knight and his sword. If your event is going to be recurring, you might want to invest in a good name, logo, slogan, certain colors, a particular font, etc for it.
You could make an entire branding exercise out of it by running a contest to help you design a logo for your event. This could go under the pre-event promotional campaign. What a simple but effective virtual event idea!
Put Everything Into Action
The final step is executing your strategy. Once you have your ‘brand’ in place, the first step is to create an event-specific website with your brand splashed all over it. You could also have a mobile app to reach mobile users.
While the website is part of your pre-event legwork, your branding efforts should run into your final event as well. So, think of how you could display your brand at the event. If you are using a virtual event platform like Virtex, then you have umpteen ways to customize your virtual venue. Choose your colors and fonts everywhere- from your banners to your stage, and even registration passes!
One of the biggest virtual event trends for 2022 will be the usage of social media for event branding. From dance challenges to storytelling, businesses are doing everything exciting to capture audience attention.
HYBRID EVENTS FAQs
The growing popularity of the hybrid event format is a blessing for the global event industry. The digital age has resulted in a remarkable simplification in people’s lives. In this regard, there are more and more chances to combine traditional events with virtual components to attract the attention of a more extensive audience base.
In this article we will learn about hybrid events, why they are essential, and how they are different from virtual events.
What are Hybrid Events?
The hybrid event format combines in-person and on-screen components, with the option to attend either in-person or virtually through an online platform such as Almond Virtex. It also helps businesses in building a larger community, as well as breaking geographic barriers.
Why are hybrid events important?
Hybrid events provide an avenue for expanding the reach of your in-person events, and a best hybrid event platform can take an in-person event from an okay experience to a truly great one. By combining the features of both, conducting hybrid events is beneficial in many aspects, such as:
- Reduced Cost
- Higher Reach & Attendance
- Better ROI
- Enhanced Flexibility
- Real-time data and Insights
- Increased Audience Engagement
- Better exposure to sponsors
How to organize a hybrid event?
Hybrid Events combine the power of in-person events and the flexibility offered by a virtual component. These events can be hosted as webinars, podcasts or replays.
- Set a budget for an event
- Create a perfect plan
- Choose the best hybrid event platform
- Prepare your speakers
- Promote your event to create a buzz
Why will hybrid events be the future?
Hybrid Events are the way of the future, as demonstrated by top companies across various industries who have already incorporated this format for their events. They gives you the leverage of reaching a broader audience that can engage and connect from anywhere.
With global reach, lesser expenses and higher ROI, hybrid events are the future of conferencing and networking.
Why has hybrid conferencing become so popular?
Hybrid events take the best of both worlds — your virtual event, where you can communicate with thousands of attendees and build your brand presence, and an in-person component to generate qualified leads and meet few people in a controlled safer environment.
Difference between Hybrid events and Virtual events.
The pandemic forced lots of business, networking and social life to shift online. And here, virtual & hybrid event comes into the picture.
Virtual events are virtual conferences, virtual summits, internet conferences/summits, tele summits or webinars. They are online versions of in-person events, which enable people to attend meetings virtually and live via webcam.
Hybrid events are a relatively new concept. Although sometimes confused with Webinars, these methods of holding an event let hybrid event planners cash in on the benefits of both online and in-person events. Many companies are using the hybrid approach for their conferences and live events.
What are the best Hybrid event platforms?
There is an end number of platforms that organize events virtually, and choosing the right platform for your event plays an essential role in the event’s success. But the questions arise what to look for in a hybrid event platform?
You will search for a platform that combines traditional events with virtual components to attract the attention of a more extensive audience base.
The 2022 Guide to Event Data and Reporting
If you’ve worked with any virtual event planner, they’ll tell you that the end of a successful event is only the beginning. It is the beginning of your careful post-event analysis, data-driven decisions, new marketing channels, and the planning for your next big event.
Your internal stakeholders are very keen to get their hands on certain metrics like the quality of feedback, the NPS, sponsorship revenue, engagement levels, etc. They understand that the success of your event truly lies in these statistics.
So, how do you go about measuring this data and reporting it? We are here to help you with event data and reporting for any type of event: virtual, hybrid, and in-person!
What Is Event Data And What Is Its Value?
It is important to understand the data and metrics that your online event platform provides so you can make business decisions based on them. There’s a lot you can do with data- from revising registration timelines to changing the timing of your polls in the event. But you need to know what data is available to you.
Most platforms will provide the following
- The number of registrations
- The number of attendees
- The average time spent
- The number of visitors
- Net Promoter Score (NPS) of the event
Using Data For Pre-Registration Decisions
Now that you have this data, how can you use it? If you find that there is a marked difference between the number of registrations and the final number of attendees, then you know that you have not promoted your event enough and will need to work harder in that area.
The registration data itself can give you a lot of information about the attendees. It can tell you where they registered from, who hasn’t registered (if you have a list), etc. You can use this information to re-send invitations to the ones who haven’t registered.
Similarly, if you have put up your event on social media and have sent your emails to an open list of invitees, make sure to have Google Analytics because it will help you track the source of registrations, the timing, and so on. You can plan your next set of pre-registration activities accordingly.
Using Data During The Event
Want to know the benefits of using event analytics? They will help you decide the timing and flow of your event. For instance, your analytics dashboard can reveal how many people are in a certain ‘room’. This is a good metric for you to know when to start your event.
Similarly, you can identify which attendees are in the lounge, who’s in the exhibitor booths, and who’s asking all the questions. You can then send personalized messages or make group announcements for these attendees.
Even sponsors can benefit from event data. If you notice that certain sponsor booths are not receiving enough visitors, you can introduce a special segment within the event for your sponsors. This way you can make the most of your sponsorship revenue.
Using Data After The Event
At the end of it all, you are going to need a report to understand what worked and what needed further enhancement. Typically, marketers and sponsors are likely to need this report the most. But, it can also help the sales teams to plan their follow-throughs better.
The report can also be sent over to external stakeholders, especially key clients, partners, and certain big-ticket prospects. Here again, the right online event platform will provide you with data that can enrich your report even further.
Mistakes to Avoid When Managing Different Event Formats
The pandemic has brought about a paradigm shift in the way events are conducted.
Now that the world is slowly doing away with major restrictions, we have seen the return of physical or in-person events. In spite of this development, three out of four businesses want to retain the virtual aspect of their events. That’s brought about a sudden surge in the popularity of hybrid events.
Managing a virtual and in-person event at the same time is no mean task. And while upskilling on the job is great, here is a way for you to beat the learning curve. Simply avoid making these common mistakes associated with managing different event formats.
Mistakes to Avoid When Managing Different Event Formats
In-person, virtual, or hybrid- whatever your event format, you need to have a solid plan in place. It should cover important elements of the event such as logistics, registrations, participant details, agenda, speaker information, and so on. If your plan is not inclusive, you might end up getting lost in minor details and wasting time and resources.
Avoid this mistake and make a master plan that includes everything and smaller plans for each task. Delegate these tasks to other team members and ensure that they know the plan like the back of their hands.
Ignoring Your Audience
Sometimes, you might end up ignoring the reason why you’re hosting an event in the first place: your audience. You may focus too much on registrations, or sticking to the agenda instead. If you are unable to hold the attention of your audience, then your event may not be able to achieve its primary objectives.
After all, the core of any event is to connect people. If your event is a virtual one then you must put in more effort to keep the interaction alive. This can be achieved partly through engagement tools and activities on virtual event platforms like personal chat, individual booths, one-on-one networking, experiential marketing elements, and much more.
One thing to keep in mind is that these activities alone won’t suffice to engage your audience. The content you share with your audience has to be top-notch and drive value as well.
Just like you would for an in-person event, you must get enough time to rehearse your event and ensure that everything is going as per the agenda. Things like internet speed and connectivity, sound must be tested while practising.
You could also anticipate important questions and likely problems you might run into and prepare for them in advance. For instance, maintaining a backup set of topics to discuss in case a speaker is unable to participate in the event or starting off a Slack channel to discuss FAQs and having a moderator to manage it.
Choosing the Wrong Platform
Platforms like Virtex not only offer the ability to stream your event, but offer many other ancillary features like marketing your event on social media or providing a immersive experience online. Make sure to choose a platform that gives your audience the closest in-person experience that they can have in a hybrid event.
Features Of A Virtual Trade Show Platform
As businesses get used to events online, they must also find unique ways to generate more revenue through them. And, with the right partner, it is possible for companies of all sizes to host virtual trade shows and other events and watch leads being generated.
So, how does all of this work? It starts with finding the most appropriate platform. Choosing from a list of providers who offer several features can prove quite confusing. Luckily, we have a list of useful features for you that you should pay particular attention to.
Features Of A Virtual Trade Show Platform
1. Good visuals
Imagine you walk into a traditional trade show. What you will likely find is a large number of booths dedicated to different brands. Each brand will make its best attempt to stand out with bright visuals and colors. Once you’re in the booth, it’s the task of the experts and the product marketers to interact with you.
Your virtual trade show platform should be able to replicate almost all of this. If you’re able to pull off a lifelike experience with the attendees walking into the ‘venue’, registering at the lounge, and entering the event arena, that’s going to create a lasting impression.
While you might miss the intimacy of in-person trade shows, what you won’t miss is the pain of setting up booths, getting banners and posters printed, and the other logistical issues.
When you go virtual, you can skip the cumbersome process of getting your booth ready. If you choose a good virtual event platform like Virtex, you can choose from a variety of pre-loaded designs or make your own.
In fact, everything related to your event can be customized- right from your venue to your advertising banners, and everything in between.
3. Mobile friendliness
It goes without saying that you are likely to miss out on loads of potential business if your virtual event platform does not support mobile users. Several of your attendees might be on the go and choose to attend your trade show on their mobile device. So, your virtual trade show platform must also have a mobile app and it must be quick and able to support streaming, webinars, etc.
4. Networking features
We have spoken about this feature several times before and rate it very highly on a virtual event platform. One of the biggest advantages of in-person events is the ability to make connections and build a network. While it is much harder to replicate virtually, a common blunder to overcome in your next virtual show is assuming that your audience is listening all the time.
A good virtual event platform offers you several tools to create an atmosphere of networking among participants, speakers, and attendees. Live chats, Q&A rooms, one-on-one sessions with speakers are a few features that are a must.
5. Good analytics
While audience engagement is a great metric to assess the success of your event, you do need more. Post event analytics give you crucial insights into the behaviours of your audience and help you plan your next course of action. In fact, we’d say that they are the bridge between finishing a huge event and getting your sales teams ready for follow-up.
The Most Effective Team Building Activities For Your Virtual Or Hybrid Staff
Ask any remote team member and they will tell you how important it is to have virtual team-building activities for better teamwork and employee happiness. In fact, 75% of employers think that collaboration within the team is highly valuable. So, team building is a must, even if it is to be virtually so.
In our experience working with several virtual teams, we have understood that virtual team building is not the same as in-person team building. So, you need much more than a regular happy hour or online team quiz to bring out the camaraderie.
Luckily, we have a few ready ideas for you that can help.
1. Virtual treasure hunt
What better way to bring together a team than a treasure hunt? Now you might wonder how you could conduct a hunt online. But it’s all in the details. You could make a list of household items that need to be photographed or decorated in a certain manner. While the tasks may be individual, they could be linked together within the team and the completion of all the individual tasks would mean victory for the team. For instance, Employee A’s task would be to get a picture of Employee B’s dog. There could be similar tasks for every employee.
2. Two truths and a lie
If you’re trying to have a fun-filled activity that also enables your team members to get to know each other better, then look no further. The rules of the game say that every person is required to make three statements about themselves two of which are true and one which is not. The rest of the people on the call will need to identify the lie from the three. It is a great chance for people to share even a few bizarre truths about themselves if they’re game.
Pictionary is a classic and a favorite among many groups. All you need to do is to make this a virtual team event. You can choose a good platform like Virtex that provides you with a virtual drawing board. Split up your attendees into teams and you’re on your way. A representative from each team will need to draw the word assigned and the rest of the team has to make guesses.
4. Virtual dance party
With many people still working from home, there is very little opportunity for physical movement. A great creative idea for a virtual workshop is a dance party. A trainer can lead the team while they follow him/her. You could also involve a few fun challenges wherein members add their own twist to a step or have a dance-off.
5. Virtual escape room
Just like a physical escape room, a virtual escape room will involve a team being locked up in a room. They will then have to use the clues to escape. It is an effective virtual team-building activity because it will need them to put on their thinking hats and feed off each other’s positivity.
If you have VR headsets, you can create a simulation of an escape room and make things more exciting for your team.
Emerging trends shaping the future of event technology
Now that physical and in-person events are making a comeback, one might wonder if it is the beginning of the end of virtual events. However, the world isn’t ready yet. In-person events might not be able to return to what they used to be. However, on the bright side, this opens up a whole new territory where event planners and marketers can make the best possible use of event technology and virtual event ideas to still attain their goals.
So, let’s take a look at what 2022 and beyond have in store for the virtual event world.
Emerging trends shaping the future of event technology
1. Check-ins are going contactless
In a future that does not involve queues at events, attendees can perform a series of actions on the event website before they arrive at the event. Depending on these actions, attendees can either be granted or declined access to the event.
However, if a queue is inevitable, then virtual queues can ensure that not too many people assemble in one place.
2. Temperature guns too are going contactless
Yes, these guns are already contactless. However, things are leveling up now. State-of-the-art temperature check devices have the capability to record temperatures using infra-red technology, approve or deny access, have hand sanitizers and PPE kits handy, and even serve as an event guide.
3. ID verification is easier now than ever
For in-person events, certain requirements like being vaccinated or obtaining a negative COVID test are mandatory. But event planners can have a daunting task at hand if they are to implement these requirements.
4. Robot technology is finding its way
Hybrid event planners are now receiving smart event assistants. Be it AI-powered chatbots for the virtual audience or robots are in-person events, these AI-powered machines are making life much easier for event managers. They help attendees check in, find information, bathrooms, meal times, and even deliver food!
5. In-person and virtual attendees are networking now
Hybrid events are more than just livecast streaming of the in-person event. Event technology is evolving to include new networking opportunities between in-person and virtual attendees. While this may seem odd at first, it is working! Developments like a mobile app for the event or networking rooms for the attendees are turning this kind of networking into a reality. Some event technology is sophisticated enough to enable remote attendees to control streaming robots thereby letting them choose which section of the venue or the event they want to watch.
6. Smaller events are becoming more popular
The in-person element of hybrid events is becoming smaller and more intimate now. As such, this just might be one of the biggest virtual event trends for 2022. Physical events will be capped and largely open to senior management and other VIPs. On the other hand, the virtual element will continue to focus on reach while ensuring that the audience remains engaged.
7. Content also is becoming contactless
Physical events no longer need to waste paper to print event-related and other branding/marketing content on brochures, booklets, and so on. All the content can be made available online which can be accessed by scanning a QR code. This will also provide equal amounts of information to both physical and virtual attendees and since it will be stored on the cloud, it will always be available.
Whether the world goes back to normalcy any time soon or not, these developments will dominate the event space for some time.
How Can NFTs Change The Landscape Of The Events Industry
If you are a follower of the latest tech news and take a keen interest in the digital economy, then you must already be aware of the rising popularity of non-fungible tokens or NFTs. They are quickly becoming one of the most popular digital assets and virtual event platforms are starting to take notice of them.
First things first, what is an NFT?
Let’s understand this with an example. Assume that you are a digital illustrator and have you created a beautiful digital painting. This painting, on the surface, is a piece of art but it is also unique because there is only one such painting. It cannot be compared or exchanged with any other painting on grounds of similarity.
But, what if suddenly someone ‘stole’ your painting and made many copies of it on the Internet? Now, it is no longer unique and there is also no way for you to prove your ownership of it. The value of your work of art is lost forever and your talent has not received its due.
You can avoid this situation by buying an NFT. This NFT will convert your digital painting into a unique digital asset and confer a certificate of ownership on it. Now, since every token is linked to blockchain technology, it will be embedded in public records forever. So, if anyone will have to buy this ‘painting’, they will need to purchase it from you.
Are NFTs just restricted to collectibles and artwork?
No. In fact, many hybrid event platforms are keenly exploring the possibility of using NFTs to prevent the resale of tickets or ticket scalping. However, they can do more than that. NFT could be a part of the essential strategies for a successful hybrid event. Let’s take a look.
Creating VIP-level experiences
The power of NFT lies in its ability to grant status to its owner. So, virtual event platforms, like virtex, could associate them with exclusive access to certain segments of virtual events. These could be conversations with the who’s who of the industry or an awards night with C-level executives of top organizations, and much more.
Providing employee incentives
The reward for winning a virtual quiz or a contest could be an NFT to gain access to an exclusive community or to provide them ‘stage’ time at a hybrid or a virtual event as a means of recognition.
One of the biggest industries where NFTs are set to take over is gaming. You could center your engagement activities at your next corporate event around gamification. A series of activities, open both to your physical and virtual audiences, could end with the winner receiving an NFT associated with a digital asset.
Getting the best booths
Virtual real estate is a big deal today and you could sell NFTs for your next event too. Sponsors could buy these NFTs for the best ‘booth’, or a longer face-time if your event is virtual. You could also associate NFTs with exhibitor spaces at your in-person event.